USF Student’s award-winning design creates the ultimate porch for a Florida home

TAMPA, Fla. (Jun. 3, 2008) – University of South Florida architecture student Christine Sanchez’s award-winning design for what she calls “Porch House: The Conclusive Home,” is a sustainable Florida home that features what one could term the “ultimate porch.” She designed the porch to fold over the house in a unique way to create a “profound connection from the outside in.” It offers a children’s play area and adult areas of solitude and relaxation as well as wheelchair accessibility.

According to her proposal: “The porch begins with a ramp and evolves into a deck, walls, windows, seating, the roof and finally, the ceiling. The wrapping of the porch is intended to serve many purposes: both physically and psychologically.”

Keeping the aging process in mind, she said, “My goal was for individuals of all ages to be happy and secure in a house that would promote a sense of dignity and purpose for all.”

Key to achieving this objective was allowing a wheelchair freedom to access the home’s perimeter and see all parts of the property. The inside of the house is laid out so that both ends are visible, for a sense of security.

The house is an energy and resource saver to boot. It offers passive solar cooling strategies and a roof that, in addition to collecting rain water, allows for angled placement of solar panels that can collect solar rays from three directions.

Sanchez’s design won third prize in the Ethel Percy Andrus Freedom House design competition developed by AARP and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). The competition challenged students to learn about universal design while creating an attractive design for a single family home that is safe, comfortable and accessible for people of all ages and abilities.

“Sustainability and green building technologies are crucial to emerging architectural practices and we aim at integrating them into our curriculum,” said Shannon Bassett, assistant professor of architecture urbanism at USF’s School of Architecture and Community Design. “So we are extremely proud of the work Christine has done and thrilled that it received this important recognition. This project was also a vehicle for Christine to advance her design research into how to create an assisted living facility for an elderly housing prototype that embraced community.”

In developing their submissions, participants in the competition had to research and respond to the unique aspects of designing a home that is usable by all people regardless of age or ability. They also had to develop knowledge of materials, products and installation related to universal design principles. Universal design is the design of products and environments that are usable by all people regardless of age or ability. It includes home design features and products that make a home safer and more comfortable for all residents, even when their needs and abilities change.

The competition is named after “Freedom Home” in Washington, D.C., a home created under the supervision of Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, founder of AARP. In 1961, a full scale model of the Freedom Home, which adapted traditional architectural details to serve the needs of older residents, was built in Washington, D.C. for the 1961 White House Conference on Aging. The architectural concept exemplified by the Freedom Home would be later come to be known as “Universal Design.” Among those viewing the house was then President Dwight Eisenhower.

AARP and the AIAS presented the House of Freedom design competition to honor Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus’s vision and to celebrate AARP’s 50th Anniversary in 2008.

The award winning entries will be displayed at AARP’s 50th Anniversary Life @ 50+ Member Event and Expo in Washington, D.C., September 4-6, 2008. The winning entries will be published in the Fall 2008 issue of Crit, Journal of the AIAS.

Winning students/teams and their AIAS chapters will receive cash prizes totaling $7,225, with the distribution as follows.

First Prize                             $2,500       AIAS Chapter:       $500

Second Prize                        $1,500       AIAS Chapter:       $275

Third Prize                            $750          AIAS Chapter:       $200

Three Honorable Mentions:     $500          each

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About AARP:

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

About the AIAS:

Headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Institute of Architecture Students was established in 1956 and is an independent, nonprofit, student-run organization. The mission of the AIAS is to promote excellence in architecture education, training and practice; foster an appreciation of architecture and related disciplines; enrich communities in a spirit of collaboration organize students; and combine their efforts to advance the art and science of architecture. The AIAS is comprised of more than 6,800 members at almost 140 chapters around the world.

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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